The call for diabetes care that made this young Philadelphia doctor change his life


Like many new doctors, a busy residence left me little time for exercise or a balanced meal. I had never been overweight, but suddenly my waist expanded.

But I was not too worried, after all, I was only 20 years old. What could a few temporary pounds do to harm me?

It was a story I had often heard from patients, only now it was developing in my own life.

But to my surprise, I learned in a routine check-up that I had prediabetes, high blood sugar levels, that can eventually progress to diabetes if left untreated. Over time, without proper management, diabetes can affect your body. It can wreak havoc on your nerves, take your limbs, endanger your kidneys, clog your arteries and blind you. There are some other diseases as destructive as diabetes and less common. Diabetes already affects nearly 30 million Americans with another 84 million, or a third of adults in the United States, who have prediabetes. 90% of people with prediabetes do not even know they have it.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, comprising 90% of all diabetes cases in the US. UU The less common form, type 1 diabetes, is an autoimmune condition that usually, but not always, begins in childhood. Type 2 diabetes is a byproduct of insulin resistance, which means that insulin works less efficiently, so you need more.

And while it is true that the risk of developing type 2 increases with age, we are seeing more people younger than I was, even children, with what was once called "adult onset diabetes".

How did I reverse my own prediabetes?

I forced myself to find time for exercise and better nutrition. Fruits and vegetables became my friends in my new plant-based diet, and so did a smaller waistline and normal levels of blood sugar.

It seems simple, but these changes are not easy to make. Making it even more difficult is that patients with diabetes receive so many contradictory messages that they may be defenseless against the torrent of sugar that circulates through their arteries. For example, patients who fear dietary sugar tell me they avoid fruit in favor of salty foods like a ham sandwich. However, their high sugar level persists because they do not realize they are being sabotaged.

The majority of whole fruits, consumed with all the fiber instead of washes in juice, are some of the healthiest foods that a human can eat, diabetic or not. In a recent meta-badysis, it was shown that people who ate more fruits had a lower risk of developing diabetes. For those who already have diabetes, eating whole fruit was badociated with reducing the risk of health complications, including death.

But when the fruit turns into juice, it acts like any other refined carbohydrate, which all diabetics should really avoid. 19659003] However, many people confuse refined carbohydrates with all carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important and when consumed in unrefined form, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans and lentils, can lead to improvements in diabetes.

Consider that ham sandwich. Bread, especially if it is a refined white bread, affects blood sugar as well as sweets.

Nor is it just eating ham the answer. Too many of my patients see carbohydrates in any form like diabetic kryptonite, and instead eat foods high in saturated fats, such as red meat and processed meat, which further increases the risk of diabetes. Even the high consumption of fish, despite its attractiveness to health, has been linked to a higher rate of diabetes development.

When comparing plant-based diets with traditional diets prescribed for diabetes, the reduction in sugar levels in diabetics tripled. These types of diets also have the advantage of helping people with other common conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

Holidays are often considered an excuse for dietetic indiscretion, but the impact unfortunately lasts much longer than celebrations. Several studies have found that the typical weight gain during the holidays is "only" a few pounds, which can accumulate and increase the risk of diabetes. However, in a summary article published this year, the researchers found that the weight gained during the holidays accounts for more than half of the weight gained annually and is not lost during the following year, leading to permanent weight gain.

The situation would be desperate if it were not for a diet of whole foods, based on plants, which has been shown to help you lose weight and treat diabetes simultaneously.

In 1925, Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin, warned mankind during his Nobel Prize conference, "Insulin is not a cure for diabetes, it is a treatment." This holiday season, more than 90 years after It would be prudent to ask for healthier plant-based options and no more insulin.

Dr. Shivam Joshi is a lifestyle doctor and nephrologist in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @sjoshimd .

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